“WE’RE GOING TO BE GOOD”
Mincey, the Jaguars’ fifth-year defensive end and sacks leader last season, was asked Tuesday as 2012 organized team activities opened about realistic expectations for next season.
“I think we can be very good,” Mincey said. “You’ll never catch me talking down on guys I believe in. We have what it takes. We just have to come to work, which we’ve been doing, and things can fall right. That’s a realistic expectation for us – to be good. We’re going to be good.”
Asked why he believes that, Mincey replied, “Guys are growing up. Our quarterback (
Asked if those things weren’t there last year, Mincey replied, “Let’s just say they’re better.”
Mincey said one reason he expects improvement overall is he expects improvement from a pass rush that produced 31 sacks last season.
“I think we’re getting there,” Mincey said. “A tree just doesn’t grow overnight. It grows leaves and branches. We’re finding the right pieces to the puzzle.”
THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Mike Mularkey saw progress, and that’s what he wanted to see.
Mularkey said much of his first off-season as the Jaguars’ head coach is about not only installing schemes, but establishing philosophy, practice schedule and expectations.
Overall, he said, Tuesday’s first day of organized team activities was better in that area than the first veteran mini-camp in mid-April. He said that was to be expected, because that mini-camp marked the first days of installing the new system.
“You could tell the guys were a little more comfortable with the system,” Mularkey said, adding that the coaching sessions that have been held at EverBank Field in the weeks since have helped.
“It was definitely an improvement from the first time we had them in here,” he said.
Mularkey said two areas that must improve are fumbles and penalties. Mularkey said there were two fumbles at the end of plays Tuesday – one at the end of an interception and another at the end of a big play offensively – “that cannot happen.”
“We love when the defense strips it,” Mularkey said, “but we can’t have the ball on the ground regardless.”
Mularkey said those areas are a constant emphasis.
“We have an emphasis every day in these OTAs,” Mularkey said. “Today’s emphasis was first and second down, but really, there’s an emphasis every time we walk on the field and that’s ball security: keeping the ball and taking it away defensively.”
Mularkey, too, said there’s an emphasis on pre-snap penalties and penalties the Jaguars can control. Mental errors, he said, will be not be tolerated, adding that there will be officials at practice every day in OTAs, mini-camp and training camp and that penalties will be posted in the locker room daily.
“You don’t want your name up in that locker room,” he said.
WHAT MULARKEY SAYS
“It’s May. Everybody knows what kind of shape they’re in. Everybody has their own way of getting into it. When they leave here June 14, they’ve got to do something to come back here ready to go (for training camp July 27). I told the whole team today, ‘You have to gauge your conditioning right now. It’s May 15. See where you are today. See where you are after 10 OTAs. I can’t tell you how much to sleep. What to drink. You have to know your own body. You better be in shape. If you’re not in shape, you’re going to get exposed in this camp coming up in July and August.’ ”
WHAT DE JEREMY MINCEY SAYS ABOUT SECOND-ROUND DE ANDRE BRANCH
“I like him. I like the kid. He’s a high-energy guy. He works hard and is very respectful. That alone will take you a long way as a football player. The kid’s going to be a really good player.”
WHAT WE SAW
The 90 Jaguars players on the off-season roster will participate in OTA practices Wednesday and Thursday, with OTAs scheduled to run through June 1. The team will then have a veteran mini-camp June 12-14 with training camp scheduled to begin in late July.
The big news on Day 1 of Jaguars 2012 OTAs took place before the first practice when defensive tackle
*The following players did not practice Tuesday: defensive end
*Mincey, who long has had a reputation as a high-energy, maximum effort player, on why signing a long-term deal won’t change his approach. “They took a chance on me. It’s only right for me to go out and give my all.”
*The Jaguars on Tuesday signed rookie linebacker Joshua Jones and waived rookie running back
*Mularkey said he is pleased that Knighton has been able to return to working out earlier than expected, something he said will be important to the defensive tackle being in shape for training camp. “He has weighed in every day,” Mularkey said. “He’s very aware of his weight and we are, too. We’re trying to do as much as we can without putting strain on him (or the eye).”